Storytelling: The Key to More Donations

As a charity, you may think gathering donations is as easy as putting out a donation kiosk and waiting for the money to roll in. Surely people will immediately understand that your cause is a worthy one and give generously, right?

The truth is that the competition for supporters is fierce – just think of all the donation boxes you see in retail storefronts, not to mention on-site events equipped with high-tech kiosks. Your charity is going to need a way to stand out in the crowd. What makes your cause the most worthy? What’s going to make people decide to donate to you?

The answer is your cause story, and being able to convey it in a meaningful way is the key to not only bringing in donors, but creating supporters for life. By creating emotional reactions, you’re building a bridge between your organization and its donors, and this connection is huge when it comes to helping supporters feel as though they’re truly a part of the bigger picture.

Here are three ways to develop and use storytelling to your charity’s advantage:

Find what will tug on the heartstrings

Playing to your audience’s sympathy is a simple and smart way to get people to sit up and pay attention; there’s a reason why those sad humane society or humanitarian aid commercials work so well. Assess your organization’s mission and determine what appeal would do the best job at pulling the heartstrings of a casual passerby.

Visual aids are definitely important as well, so make sure you display prime photos and punchy text near your donation kiosk in order to really drive the goal home. It also doesn’t hurt to have a sense of urgency to your emotional appeal, so choose your text with this in mind.

…But don’t be afraid to make it light-hearted

One way to play to sympathy is to focus on the direness of your cause with sad images and strong calls to action, but a sense of humor and quirkiness can also go a long way in helping you stand out. Look to incorporate some irreverent humor in an attempt to capture the interest and attention of potential donors – it might be a strategy that competing charities are not utilizing, which can put you ahead of the game.

Consider making a display around your kiosk that’s attention-grabbing and fun, with a punchy headline and interesting colors. Also, it’s worth ensuring that your digital properties – like your website and your social media profiles – have the same tone.

Be strategic in pairing your story with your kiosk

Having your kiosk located on site at your organization or at your fundraising event is where pairing it with your storytelling can really shine. Since your prospective donors are already there – be it at church for a function, volunteering in a soup kitchen, or visiting a community center – they’re likely already getting firsthand knowledge of your cause story.

Leverage these emotions by having a donation kiosk handy, preferably with a staff member nearby who can explain the importance of donating in the moment. This might just bring in some additional donations, as well as help create a stronger connection to your cause.

Charities that utilize the strength of storytelling to its full potential are often the ones that create long-lasting relationships with donors. Don’t miss out on including an engaging story to go along with your donation kiosk – if people understand the appeal behind your charity, you may end up bringing in a whole new army of supporters.